Saturday, December 19, 2009
I was going to leave this dead horse of a story dead, that is until Phil Knight said Nike was standing behind Tiger. Then the internet’s morally flexible self-identified and sided with Phil. Time to get out the paddles and shock Trigger.
Where both Phil & Supporters share common ground—and are both wrong—is in playing down the transgressions part as being minor. This idea that he’s only human works when we’re talking about one time, twice, maybe.
15-women orgies, high-stakes gambling and narsty texts over a few years is transgressing times ten though. He’s now supposedly left to himself to play golf at night alone while sponsors such as Tag Heuer scale back endorsements.
Still, Nike has to stick with him.
I’m not trying to hold the moral high ground, far from it. It just seems that if you’re prepared to accept Phil Logic™ then, transgressing one time makes you no worse than someone who engages in a repeat pattern of the same behavior for years.
If that’s the case, then all athletes deserve that same consideration, no? This is a bigger issue for sports to think about.
Seems like there’s no rhyme and reason as to why one athlete is abandoned by a sponsor and another gets a pass. Is it off the field or on the field “transgressions” that determine the chosen few?
If so, then A-Rod did about as much damage to a rep as you can with both on and off the field issues (cheating, steroids), and yet, his apology earlier this year is all but forgotten now that he has that ring.
There needs to be a consistent policy in all sports for an athlete both on the field and off. Banned substances, fighting in clubs or brawling on the field etc., whatever, should all carry the same weight, because they sure don’t now.
Like convictions. Vick is playing for the Eagles while Nike dropped Marion Jones. I don’t see how you can have it both ways. Again, if you want to say she cheated on the sport while Vick didn’t, all I can say is see: A-Rod.
Nike has to stay with Tiger if they stood behind Kobe. To do otherwise undermines their past support of him. Drop him and you in effect admit you should also have dropped Kobe for the rape that wasn’t a rape.
This leads to another point about the people who help repair the rep of the transgressor. I was talking to a friend, taking it to extremes and suggesting at what point does an agency (W+K in this case), say enough’s enough and refuse to work for Nike?
Why promote an athlete who clearly has issues?
My reality check countered with “That’s a lot of money to walk away from as an agency. Besides, it’s a big brand and Tiger’s one part of it.” True.
But if agencies have a litmus check for what they will and will not work on in terms of products (alcohol, tobacco, pharma, etc.), then why is that scenario so far-fetched?
Yep, the creatives will be fistbumping Tiger left and right on the next photoshoot, but at some point in this business, you have to ask yourself where the line is at advertising something or someone with problems, or who employs a certain moral flexibility.
At what point do you put aside the fanboy thing and say maybe what these people do on the field can’t erase the other shit?
If you can’t however, then maybe it’s time for that cigarette account.
Barkley aside, the role model gig does come with the territory—but not from a “raising someone’s kids” perspective. It’s about how you carry yourself as an adult and a professional.
Here’s my solution though. Dan gets to keep his account. Nike gets a PR spike. Tiger gets to come off as human...
First off, none of this means shit unless Tiger goes out and dominates his next tourney or major, but W+K produces a spot with Tiger that is very much the anti-Kobe. (The spot where he was in denial about why people hated him—it wasn’t his skills on the court.)
If Tiger is really human, then let’s hear it in a spot for a change.
Not some introspective voiceover behind slo-mo B&W visuals about how people don’t understand what I go through, blah, blah, so what.
I mean, he comes out and admits to it all (sparing the details of course), but talking about how he fucked up off the course. About how people will view him differently now because of it. “I let shit get to me. I lived the life. Maybe I can’t change. I’ll try. But I just don’t know. I’ll keep trying”
Now that would be human.
Posted 4:37 PM